Justin A

8th and 9th grade student researchers from Omaha Public Schools spent 3 days working with UW-Extension (UWEX) crew and programs at Upham Woods to do outdoor research. Thanks to the UWEX expertise, our students conducted quite rigorous outdoor research. How did we get students excited about exploring their natural world when it is so easy to "plug-in" indoors? Digital Observation Technology Skills (DOTS) kits! Our student researchers were completely hooked on using these digital tools to conduct research that told a story behind their phenomena in the Upham Woods area. Once the excitement began, many students even branched out and incorporated non-digital tools into their data collection (tape measures, tree corers, etc). Our student population included learners from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and skill levels. The DOTS kits exploration allowed students to research what they were interested in, with staff to support the build up of individual skills. Everyone wins!